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December Mailbag Part 3: Answering the rest of our questions for this month on Bradley Beal and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic

Here are the remaining questions from this month’s mailbag.

Washington Wizards v Utah Jazz
Is Beal’s play hurting his future value?

If you have missed the first and second parts of our December mailbag, click on the links below.

Our next mailbag will be in mid-January.

Props to Marcus Atkinson and the article he published on Dec. 16. It’s been long overdue.

There are many questions lurking in the back of my mind that I have been dying to ask, but afraid of jinxing Beal. So here they are:

  1. What happens if Beal suffers a career-threatening injury and his chances of getting a supermax or near supermax extension? (Arenas & Wall style)
  2. What is the risk factor of Beal getting injured versus signing now to lock in the $181 million?
  3. With the recent increase of the new string of Covid cases, do you think there is any chance the city of DC could implement a vaccine mandate and how could that affect Beal?
  4. With Hachimura’s non-injury absence, at what point (if any) does the Wiz Front Office put a time frame on the resolution of his issues considering that over a third of the season is gone?

(Skull Dog)

My answers:

For No. 1: If Beal were to suffer an injury like Wall and Arenas this season, the Wizards would just let Beal finish out his contract (which could go through as long as 2022-23), and then part ways. It would hurt the Wizards’ growth the next season, but it wouldn’t cripple them for several years.

For No. 2: Regarding “risk of injury,” that’s hard to quantify. Beal has been durable over the past few seasons so I’d imagine that it isn’t too high. But again, it’s hard to put a percentage on it.

For No. 3: Since your question was written, D.C. will implement an indoor event coronavirus vaccine mandate starting on Jan. 15, 2022. It appears that Monumental Sports & Entertainment is taking the position that Wizards players (and possibly visiting players) are not exempt, though notices to the general public don’t mention that players must be vaccinated. Words like “guest” and “patron” are pretty broadly defined.

For example, if Beal buys a bag of chips at the concession stand, he is effectively a customer and a “patron.” And a visiting player is a “guest” in a way. Even if there’s a “carve out” for someone like Beal, the pressure, from a PR standpoint on him has increased. It wouldn’t be a good look for him to be unvaccinated in a city with such a mandate, and where most people are willingly vaccinated as it is. At least within D.C. itself, 85.4 percent of residents are at least partially vaccinated and 66.7 percent are fully vaccinated.

But assuming he is not vaccinated by Jan. 15, Beal would have to start missing home games though he could still play road ones if the Wizards front office allows him to. Since most of the Wizards’ players are vaccinated, the mandate can cause tension because the franchise player isn’t vaccinated and others — even if it’s never explicitly stated in a practice or game.

And inevitably, this will do the Wizards a double whammy if Tommy Sheppard decides to move on from Beal. His value will also be diminished due to his not-so-great play this season in addition to his previously reported vaccine hesitancy. Some teams will not take him due to vaccine mandates in their markets. In any case, Beal will be banned from Canada (and Raptors games) due to new restrictions starting on Jan. 15 (as a Wizard, Beal already played in Toronto twice so this won’t apply until the postseason).

For No. 4: Like in the case of Thomas Bryant with his knee injury, putting a firm timetable on when Hachimura comes back isn’t a good look or best practice. The Wizards will get him back on the court in due time.